What is a Thoracic Surgeon?
Whether your asbestos exposure has resulted in lung cancer, mesothelioma or asbestosis, chances are at some point in your treatment you’ll be referred to a thoracic surgeon to help manage your disease. With so many types of surgeons available, what makes a thoracic surgeon so special?
A thoracic surgeon is a doctor who operates on the chest – the area in your body between your neck and abdomen. Your heart, lungs, windpipe, esophagus and diaphragm are all located in your chest. Thoracic surgeons perform operations on these organs (and their membranes and vessels) as well as the tissues and bones that form the chest.
These physicians may also perform lung transplants and video-assisted thoracic surgery, a new type of surgery using tiny tools and cameras that are passed through small incisions into the body to treat or remove diseased tissue.
What You Need to Know about Mesothelioma
Doctors will perform surgery on mesothelioma patients for three reasons: to remove damaged organs or tissues to enhance someone's life expectancy; to help a patient's pain; or to begin the treatment process by taking biopsies of potentially cancerous tissues. Many of today's pioneering mesothelioma surgeons, including Dr. Robert Cameron and Dr. Avi Lebenthal, believe surgery, combined with diligent post-operative care, gives patients the best chance at surviving a mesothelioma diagnosis for a number of years.
a Thoracic Surgeon Treats?
- Mesothelioma cancer
- Lung cancer
- Heart tumors/li>
- Esophageal cancers
- Chest wall tumors
Next, these surgeons seek board certification, most likely from The American Board of Thoracic Surgeons, which sets professional standards for its members. This non-profit group is one of 24 certifying boards within the American Board of Medical Specialties, which accounts for 85 percent of all board certified physicians in the nation.
To qualify for certification through The American Board of Thoracic Surgeons, candidates must have performed a minimum of 125 cardiothoracic surgeries during each year of residency and must pass both written and oral examinations. And to maintain their certification throughout their careers, these physicians must keep their medical licenses and hospital privileges in good standing. They must also participate in ongoing education to stay up to date and submit to periodic testing. Specialists are also required to consult with their peers on a regular basis to evaluate the care they provide to their patients.
Patricia Watson, spokeswoman for The American Board of Thoracic Surgeons, reports that it has certified a total of 7,816 thoracic surgeons since its inception in 1948. Among that total, about 4,300 thoracic surgeons are still practicing in the field today.
To check to see if your thoracic surgeon is board certified go to: https://www.certificationmatters.org/is-your-doctor-board-certified/search-now.aspx